Shine Bright: 15 spots to see festive holiday lights this season

Here's a list of some of the best light shows in the area.

Each holiday season, the city lights up with festive ways to help you create magical memories. Grab your loved ones, and check out these amazing light displays around and near the New Orleans metro area.

Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland

Nov. 16 – Jan. 6

A festive lights display returns to Louisiana for its second year. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland brings two miles of custom-made displays to the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La. The attraction opens starting Nov. 16, until Jan. 6. Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the attraction may stay open later. Cars or family vans cost $25, with price increases for larger vehicles. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.

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Photo courtesy: Downtown Development District

Canal Street

Starting Nov. 20

Canal Street comes to life this holiday season when the Downtown Development District flips the switch on more than one million twinkling lights and a giant Christmas tree at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel. Don’t miss the official tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 20. It makes a great place to take photos and soak up the holiday spirit with loved ones. Here’s a look back at the evolution of historic Canal Street.

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Celebration in the Oaks

Nov. 23 – Jan. 1

Breathtaking light displays adorn New Orleans City Park for the annual Celebration in the Oaks. The magical winter spectacle attracts crowds each year 25 acres of holiday lights and holiday favorites like Mister Bingle. The Botanical Gardens, Storyland and Carousel Gardens come alive this holiday season. The holiday attraction opens on Nov. 23 to Nov. 25 and Nov. 30 to Jan. 1. Admission is $10, and children under age 3 are free, along with Friends of City Park members.

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Audubon Zoo Lights
Photo courtesy: Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Zoo Lights

Nov. 23 – Dec. 30

Audubon Zoo launches a new holiday attraction to transform the destination into a “wild, glowing wonderland.” Audubon Zoo Lights will bring the holiday spirit with a family-friendly lights display. The event features animal-themed light displays, nightly live entertainment including, jazzy carols, New Orleans-style second line parades and special holiday treats. Family-friendly festivities are set to kick off on select nights between Nov. 23 and Dec. 30.

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Photo courtesy: Visit Jefferson Parish

Kenner Christmas Village

Nov. 24 – Dec. 30

The Kenner Christmas Village illuminates Kenner City Park this holiday season with lights and animated scenery. Mayor Ben Zahn will turn on the lights to the city’s Christmas Tree during the Christmas Village opening at 6 p.m. on Nov. 24. The attraction opens Friday to Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 1,800-square-foot synthetic skating rink returns along with the Bavarian Biergarten area. Visitors can also enjoy crafters, vendors, school bands, choirs and other local performers, as well as two opportunities for Breakfast with Santa. A Grinch Party will take place on Dec. 21.

Photo courtesy: The Roosevelt New Orleans

Waldorf Wonderland at the Roosevelt Hotel

Nov. 27 – Dec. 31

Each holiday season, the Roosevelt Hotel’s Waldorf Wonderland lobby comes to dazzling life. The lobby display features 44 Birch trees, more than 22,000 twinkling lights, and scores of festively dressed Christmas trees. The annual holiday tradition brings locals and visitors out for the perfect photo op. Plus, while you’re there, make it a date night and stop over to the Sazerac Bar.

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Photo courtesy: Christmas Under the Stars

Christmas Under the Stars

Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, Dec. 7 – Dec. 8

Slidell gets decked out for the holiday season with this annual holiday celebration, Christmas Under the Stars. The annual celebration features twinkling lights and holiday decorations and Christmas songs. You’ll also see Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Parade of Trees, life-size Christmas Cottages and Slidell’s Nativity. The four day celebration begins on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1, and resumes on Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at Griffith Park in Olde Towne Slidell. Hours are 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

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Photo courtesy: Visit Jefferson Parish

Christmas in the Park

Nov. 30 – Dec. 30

This holiday exhibit at Lafreniere Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights and displays like a 60-foot sea serpent, a princess and her magical castle and the gingerbread man. Admission is $5 per vehicle. Enter the park from the West Napoleon Avenue access gate. The Children’s carousel will be open nightly for $1 per child. This exhibit is open Sunday through Thursday from dusk until 9:45 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from dusk until 11:45 p.m.

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Photo courtesy: Harrah's New Orleans

Miracle on Fulton Street

Nov. 30 – Dec. 26

Harrah’s Hotel and Casino transforms Fulton Street into a winter wonderland. Once you step off Poydras street and walk through the giant, lighted ornament you’ll enter a world of holiday fun and cheer featuring “snow,” twinkling lights, a larger than life tree and a gingerbread display in Harrah’s Hotel lobby. Santa makes an appearance every Friday and Saturday along with live music provided by local bands. Open daily with hourly snowfalls from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free.

Photo courtesy: Photo courtesy: Bryce Ell Photography

Luna Fete

Dec. 6 – Dec. 9

Luna Fete, New Orleans’ free festival of light, art and technology, returns to celebrate the city’s Tricentennial, along with some new features. The interactive holiday lights event is set to dazzle downtown from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9. The event is free and open to the public nightly in Lafayette Square and Lafayette Street and and the Piazza d’ Italia. This year, interactive and light-based art installations explore the theme “Through Time.”

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Photo courtesy: Unsplash

St. Tammany Annual Holiday of Lights

Dec. 7 – Dec. 8, Dec. 14 – Dec. 15

St. Tammany brings holiday cheer and entertainment with the 19th Annual Holiday of Lights. The event takes place over two December weekends, on December 7, 8, 14, and 15  from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Koop Drive in Mandeville.

Photo courtesy: Lights at the Lake

Lights on the Lake Celebration & Boat Parade

Dec. 15

Dozens of local boat owners decorate their vessels with lights and holiday decorations for a parade on the water. The event held at the New Canal Lighthouse will also include food trucks, hot toddies and refreshments. Kids can make crafts and take pictures with Santa. Parents can also work on last-minute gifts at the “last stop shopping” village. Admission is $5. Kids under 12 entry free.

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Eden Isles Christmas Boat Parade

Dec. 15

Residents of Eden Isles adorn their boats with holiday lights for the 2017 boat parade.  The three hour parade meanders through the waterways of the Slidell neighbor.  The best place for the public to watch it is near the fire house on Marina Drive.

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Photo courtesy: Slidell's Bayou Christmas via Facebook

Slidell's Bayou Christmas

Dec. 19 – Dec. 23

This event features more than 80,000 lights animated to holiday music in Slidell’s Heritage Park each night starting at 6 p.m. The festive event features rides, entertainment, and pictures with Santa. On Dec. 22, families can enjoy a Bayou Christmas Movie Night. Admission is free.

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Photo courtesy: NOLA ChristmasFest

NOLA ChristmasFest

Dec. 20 – Dec. 31

This family-friendly indoor Christmas festival at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features festive lighting displays and decorated Christmas trees. Get filled with holiday cheer with this fest jam-packed with activities including a real indoor ice skating rink, ice slides and carnival rides. Santa and all his friends also make an appearance. Hours vary; click here for hours of operation. General admission tickets are $20.

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